Directed by George
Lucas (1977, 20th Century Fox)
Starring Mark Hamil, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Alec
A farm boy and a rogue rescue a princess from the evil Empire as
the Rebellion attempt to destroy a superweapon: the Death Star.
August 21st, 2016 on Blu Ray, for the
In addition to bringing this movie,
finally, to my youngest son, this is the first time I've seen it since
The Force Awakens came out. Instead of moving along at a roller-coaster
pace, this movie takes its time to introduce us to the characters and
the story, which actually makes sense. I've poked fun at some of the
things that don't make sense in this movie, but most of it can be
forgiven, as there are no gaping holes, nor are there any any movie
clichés that drive the story forward at the expense of the logical flow.
Best of all, however, is that it doesn't blatantly copy from its
August 18th, 2014 on Blu Ray, for the
I can't believe I've reached 80
views!!!!! Wow!!!! There is just something comfortable about this movie.
The story moves along at a brisk pace, but everything that happens is
important. The dialog is especially snappy and clean, with no
unnecessary comedy. Some of it doesn't fit in with the prequels, but
that's okay. And if the lightsaber battle isn't as flashy compared to
the one in Revenge of the Sith, it's still somehow amazing. If we are
looking for issues in this movie, which I am not (!), the biggest
problem, I think, is all the timing. The time it takes to get the Death
Star around Yavin is dictated by storytelling, of course. There is the
time it takes to get to Alderaan (a mere minutes -is that what Han had
in mind when he gave their ETA? Funny, but the rest of the story is so
well told that none of that matters.
December 30th, 2013 on Blu Ray, for the 79th time
When I was young and got sick, this
was the movie that would go into the VCR to keep me occupied as I
recovered, home from school. Lucky me. Now, as I was watching this movie
again, I was healthy, but the rest of the family was sick. They were in
bed, while I got to watch Star Wars. And it was really, really good
April 21st, 2012 on
Blu Ray, for the 78th time
I don't remember this movie being
so vibrant and colorful before. Is this because of the Blu-Ray, or
because of my poor memory? I was rather distracted at times just by the
color and detail visible in the scenes. It was truly amazing!
This was also my older son's first time seeing Star Wars, and he was
full of questions and comments. I think his second time will be quieter!
It shows the difference between the generation that grew up with the
prequels, and the older generation, who really did think that Vader
murdered Luke's father. My son, on the other hand, flat out stated that
Obi-Wan was wrong. It's hard to explain to such a young mind the concept
that adults will lie to protect them from harsh truths that they are not
prepared to accept.
As usual, the movie was fantastic. We don't really need the flash of
the prequels, though it is fun in its own right. This is actual
storytelling, and it's not only terrific, but it's beautiful, as well.
March 11th, 2011 on
DVD, for the 77th time
It's been too long since I've
watched Star Wars. It seems that every time I do, I'm amazed all over
again. After a "bang!" start, the movie slows down to show us the
universe through the eyes of the two droids. The detail was immense, in
everything, especially on Tatooine. The only overly-long setups to
scenes were the extended entry into Mos Eisley and approaching Yavin,
both of which were added in the Special Edition. But the dialog remains
snappy, and if the lightsaber fight isn't as exciting physically as it
could be, the dialog is, because we know these two were good friends,
and what they lost. The words between them are harsh, but not delivered
harshly, which is a very interesting combination.
September 4th, 2009 on
DVD, for the 76th time
July 20th, 2007 on
DVD, for the 75th time
I was thinking a lot about
of the Clones while watching this movie, especially the beginning, on Tatooine. I liked the way Lucas linked these two movies, with the dialog
between Owen, Beru and Luke. Everything from Episode II's Tatooine
section comes into the subtext here (although I suppose it really works
the other way around). Then, of course, the short lightsaber duel
between Vader and Obi-Wan reflects back to
Revenge of the Sith. I watch
this lightsaber duel more for the dialog than for the fight, which pales
in comparison with the prequel fights, of course. Also, watch Ben's eyes
when when he says "I don't remember ever owning a droid; very
interesting". Is he trying to remember? In his time of exile, do the
Clone Wars years start eluding him (or are perhaps intentionally
submersed)? Is he wondering how R2D2 could possibly have survived for so
long? Of course, now that we know he learned how to disappear from
Qui-Gon, there is a whole other level to his phantom voice. Vader knows
something is up, also, as he pats at Obi-Wan's robe. We know he learns
the path to immortality by Return of the Jedi, but how did he do it?
This is also the first time I've really noticed that the opening
crawl states that the rebellion has won its very first battle against
the Empire. I still find that very hard to believe, as I've stated in
other book reviews. Still, even given that statement as truth, the
battle preceding this movie, whether as described in
Rebel Dawn, the
Star Wars Radio dramatization or elsewhere, do it no justice whatsoever.
September 21st, 2004
on DVD, for the 74th time
Breathtaking; just breathtaking. As
if this movie couldn't get any better, the DVD just gives us amazing
video and sound quality. There were so many things that I hadn't noticed
before, especially in the sounds. Imagine: after so many times, this
movie still holds something new!
Speaking of new, that seems to be the foremost thing on people's
minds when they see this DVD version -should we call it Special Edition
2 -DVD? I never really talked about what I liked and didn't like in the
special editions of these movies. Now, there are even more changes.
The major complaint I have about the special edition footage is that
it makes the introductions too long. Most scene-setting shots are a
couple of seconds. We get a short clip of the sandcrawler before going
inside. There is a TIE fighter passing the Death Star before we go
there. Before we get to the escape pod, however, there is about ten
seconds of transition time as we watch troopers walk around the desert!
The entry into Mos Eisley is similarly long as a scene-establishing
shot. The other establishment shot is the Falcon arriving at Yavin IV,
which was also way too long. It looks like they were so long only to
show off what they could do. I don't really like or dislike the actual
shots either way, but I wish they had been cut down.
Greedo shooting at Han also never bothered me, except that Greedo's
shot looks funny going so wide. That was fixed here, and the books do a
good job at telling us why Greedo was such a bad shot -he was really bad
at everything he did. I've always liked Jabba's scene with Han
afterward, and Jabba was improved in this version -though again, I
thought the original SE Jabba looked fine, except when Han walks over
his tail. That has also been fixed here.
I liked the vibrant lightsaber blades in this edition -they really
stood out. I've also always liked the new shockwave blast as the Death
Star exploded. But although the shots of the X-wings approaching and
fighting at the Death Star look spectacular, I do miss the original
shots, and don't see the necessity of the changes made. However, when
the X-Wings launch from Yavin IV, as fighters rather than blips of
light, they look terrific. Similarly, the Falcon's new launch out of Mos
Eisley was really cool.
Some of the changes that I've noticed people talking about online are
not real changes at all. People have been so eager to find changes that
they've missed entire scenes, which they say are missing -but which are
indeed not. Others interpret scenes as new only because of the
tremendous increase in quality of the sound or video. One sound that I
am convinced has been altered, though it may also be an example of
better audio track, is Obi-Wan's krayt dragon call -wow, is that great.
Among all the changes that were made for the special editions, there
are many occurrences where I wondered why changes were not made. The
most glaring one is the the grey boxes surrounding so many TIE fighters,
especially during the Falcon's escape from the Death Star. I was led to
understand that these were artefacts of the VHS transfer, which means
that they should not be visible on the DVD -but they are. That seems
like a much better place to make alterations to the movie than even the
lightsaber blades. Another is the mismatched audio track when Vader says
"I told you she would never consciously betray the rebellion" -his hands
move in traditional Vader manner only after he completes these
A New Hope received the bulk of the changes in the Special Editions,
but the changes for the DVD version are much more subtle. I had always
been missing, in my original VHS versions, C3PO's lines about the
tractor beam, so it was nice to have them added to the special edition,
and they still feel new to me. But the language on the tractor beam was
also changed from English, which is cool, but not really necessary,
especially given the array of numbers that we see in so many other
scenes, like the Death Star screen approaching Yavin IV, and the X-Wing
I must also comment on the cases and artwork for the DVDs. The
trilogy case is very flimsy, and will undoubtedly bend and break given
enough time. Why didn't we get a nice sturdy cardboard case like the one
for the Indiana Jones movies? The artwork was reasonable on the outer
case, and I like movie art, so the individual cases and discs themselves
were nice, especially the original movie artwork
on the disks. The chapter inserts had hideous abstract art
on it that I find inexcusable, given the amount of great Star Wars
art in existence. Yuck.
The Empire of Dreams documentary was really good- not perfect, but
really good. The part describing Star Wars and its development was by
far the best, but went by so fast that it seemed superficial. I really
liked seeing all the behind-the-scenes footage, and especially different
cuts of familiar scenes, without the music or many sound effects. The
documentary didn't tell me much that was new, but it was impressively
made. The Empire and Jedi sections, however, were not as well done, with
way too much movie footage instead of new stuff. I really wish we could
see more like the Marc Hamill-hosted documentary we got when Star Wars
first premiered on TV, or the Star Wars to Jedi documentary that I have
The smaller featurettes were mostly forgettable. The Characters,
Lightsabers, and Legacy of Star Wars told us a little about the
evolution of the saga as a whole, both in terms of story and of
technology. Very little of it was new, and there wasn't nearly enough
behind-the-scenes material to justify watching them more than once. The
"Legacy" featurette managed to milk the popularity of Peter Jackson,
Return of Darth Vader feature was also quite "fluffy", with no real meat
to it, and not even material enough to properly whet the appetite.
The theatrical trailers and TV spots were typical, but fun to watch.
The SW teaser was pretty funny, as described in the documentary, they
didn't know how to market it. By the time it came around to the
re-release, they did a much better job, and didn't even give away too
much plot. Oddly, the photo gallery had a lot of stuff I'd never seen
before, and I quite enjoyed the captions that accompanied them. The game
previews were more one-time views, as I am not really interested in
them, though it must have been really neat to have the real cast and
crew on hand to show the gamers how to battle with lightsabers.
It occurred to me that a lot of the special features on this disk
would be obsolete by next May. We will know all about Darth Vader, and
the video games and DVD content will be uninteresting after the movie
and games have been released. I would have liked to see "timeless"
documentaries, but I suppose there will be at least one more release of
this trilogy at some time. I've heard rumors about a 30th anniversary
edition of A New Hope, and there will likely be a six movie boxed set at
some time, so maybe we'll get better stuff then. I can't figure out how
each of the prequel movies can get two discs, while this whole trilogy
gets one single bonus disk. It's not like the material isn't out there.
October 30th, 2003 on
Video, for the 73rd time
Why do I keep watching this movie?
Because it is terrific, and it makes me feel like I am in a very
familiar place. Having seen this movie so many times, I could probably
recite it line by line. I even remember where the original commercial
breaks were from the time I taped it from TV, since that was my only
access to the movie for so long.
I have a friend who likes to help me pick apart movies, and one day
we decided that we were being unfair to the other films by not picking
apart our favorite, so we decided to figure out if we had the courage to
do so. We didn't talk about the normal stuff, like the technical
aspects, the way matte lines were visible, and so on. We talked about
My main nitpick was about the timing of so many scenes. How the heck
does the disguised Luke get to the control room in the Death Star from
the Millennium Falcon so fast, when the others were already
standing at the door before he descended the ramp?
Similarly, how did Luke manage to get down the trash compactor slide,
attempt to get out, and fire a round of ricochet laser blasts at the
door, before Han even lands? Han jumped in bare seconds after Luke did.
I often wondered how long after the Battle of Yavin the medal
ceremony took place, as there were a lot of pilots in that room. I hope
they arrived after the battle, or that there were a lack of
ships, because otherwise what were they doing while Biggs and the others
The great things about this film totally outweigh any nitpicks. The
best part about it is the interaction between the characters. Just
focusing on the looks they give each other, they don't even have to say
much to be understood. Take Chewie, for example. When Luke mentions
money to Han before going to rescue the Princess, Chewie knows right
away where this is going. He has so many other facial expressions, such
that we don't need to know what he is saying to understand him. I look
forward to seeing him in Episode III.
Obi-Wan's pained expression during the negotiations in Mos Eisley
with Han is truly hilarious, as he is recalling how to be tolerant of
others after being away from people for so long! Tarkin also has some
great facial expressions, the best one being concern and shock when
asked about evacuating.
After seeing Attack of the Clones,
I have a few thoughts about its relationship with this movie. Obi-Wan
obviously doesn't remember R2D2 and C3PO, having had many droids serve
him under the Jedi Council. I don't think he really "owned" anything,
though. I wonder how many memory wipes R2 has had, and if he remembers
Obi-Wan. The look that passes between Owen and Beru takes on new meaning
here, even after the single incident from Episode II: Luke does
have a lot of his father in him, especially impatience.
I believe the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan will
deteriorate further in Episode III, a continuation of Anakin's "he's
holding me back" from Attack of the Clones. Nearly twenty years later,
it is easy to see the animosity between the two as they show down for
the last time. Vader must have studied why Obi-Wan disappeared after
their battle, in order to be able to do it during
Return of the Jedi. Since that sort of
thing was a mystery to even Yoda in Attack of the Clones, the Emperor
apparently didn't discover it, either. Vader obviously knew something
was different in the way that Obi-Wan died, and apparently figured it
I just love this movie, even though there are some potential
"defects", and the fact that the new movies are nowhere near as good as
these ones. Of course, I am biased... Despite what George Lucas says,
this movie appeals more to adults even more than twelve year olds: there
are a lot more subtleties here than in the prequels.
February 6th, 2002 on Video,
for the 72nd time
When I was young, and I got sick, this was the movie I would spend the
afternoon watching, which explains why the number of viewings (above) is so
high. It would always pick up my spirits, and made me feel
at home. Well, this week, I had a nasty head cold, was very tired, but I
also got tired of sleeping, so I put in Star Wars. And it was
The true test of the worth of a movie, as far as I'm concerned, is if it
can be considered great under poor circumstances. Star Wars never fails
to deliver. With its logical plotline, its fantastic sets and
spaceships, not to mention its special effects, it is a true gem. No
wonder it has developed such a following!
This is the first time I've seen A New Hope since The Phantom Menace came
out in theatres. I decided to watch the entire series again before
Attack of the Clones arrives. I wondered what made this movie so
different from the newer one, so much better. The effects were
breakthrough at the time, the story was about the discovery of a lethal new
weapon, and the development of a new Force-user, one who could become
powerful. All of this is the same in the new film.
I think the difference lies in the style. Necessity made Star Wars
into a film that had to be shot with a fixed camera angle. The effects
wouldn't work otherwise. I think the reason the new Special Edition
footage of the escape pod and entering Mos Eisley stands out so much is
because they move so much like today's films do. In contrast, the
SE Jabba scene does not stand out as much, even though it had CG effects in
Unfortunately, I think I like the locked-down camera angles better.
But I doubt they are coming back. Filmmakers like the new, unencumbered
style of letting the camera move wherever they want it. I think I prefer
to see the action develop from a fixed point of view. Compare the scenes
where the X-wings are attacking the Death Star. In the SE footage, we
get a single shot that follows the front-view of the x-wings and pans to the
rear-view. That is really neat. But I like better the scenes of
the x-wings and TIE fighters diving towards the surface, where they are
obviously in formation, which was dictated by the computer-controlled
Both battle scenes, when the Millennium Falcon escapes the Death Star, and
the assault on the battle-station at the end, as well as the opening scene
above Tatooine, were amazing. There were no slow spots at all, and the
characters go through an entire range of emotions. It was too bad to see
Owen and Beru die; fortunately, we will get to see how they lived in Episode
I can even see some of the likeness between this older Obi-Wan Kenobi and
the younger one seen in The Phantom Menace. From what I have seen in the
prequel books, so far, Anakin was never really a "good friend" to
Obi-Wan. I guess time dulls the emotions, as Obi-Wan also seems to have
freed himself of the emotions of the betrayal of his student.
It was also interesting how much of the story comes through the point of
view of the droids. I had never noticed that before. They are
obviously in the prequels, but they don't get many scenes. The humor
between them is absolutely hilarious, without ever once being over the
top. This is the way to do comedy, really. I don't hate Jar-Jar
Binks, but I am not fond of out-and-out comedy in my SF. Subtle, like
this, is better.
And after watching Attack of the Clones, I am sure we will get even more
insight into the classic trilogy. I can't wait.
May 2nd, 1999 on Video,
for the 71st time
This was like viewing the movie on the big screen -on Jo's dad's
new 51-inch TV. This is a great primer for The
Phantom Menace. Full blast, full screen and great movie.
September 5th, 1997 on Video,
for the 70th time
Star Wars Special Edition! WOW!!!! The new scenes
were incredible, but even without them, the movie was great
back on the big screen. And now on video with those same scenes!
It's still great.